Games for Arduino Made By You!

This is the first time I’ve ordered a “kit” with a specific intention. It was a great learning experience, and I think I’m much better at soldering for it.
The Gamby is a small Retro-Gaming hand held device, as well as a package of libraries for programming your own games.
Gamby is not a Gameboy clone.
It was a really well documented project, so I won’t repeat someone else’s work by writing up build instructions, but if anyone is interested in building one they can find it at tindie

Just a song.

Sometimes you hear a song that reminds you of when you were young, but has been changed to something that is a billion times awesomer.

It’s been a little while!

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I am. I’ve been away from the blog for a little while, and actually away from the computer a lot this last month. There are always distractions when I want to write something, and I’m bad for letting them get to me. Regardless! I’m still working at the programming and hardware prototyping thing, and it’s a lot of fun! Even more so than I expected originally. I thought I was stuck for a little bit with an apparently intractable problem, and learned to look for little mistakes rather than monstrous ones, because they’re the ones that you don’t see coming and end up putting a halt to the whole works.

Anyways, here’s a little video of what I’ve been working on:

PWM on a 12V LED Strip from Nelson Milum on Vimeo.

New interests, new friends!

Aside from my Partner, Lindsay, not many people are likely aware of a new thing that I’m doing. I’ve decided to take my interest and curiosity towards technology and computing to a new group. I’m now offering my services to artists and interested people as a consultant, to bring technology into the gallery for artists who want to, but don’t have the skills to implement it. This isn’t a drop everything, quit my job and go whole hog venture; I don’t believe the market exists to support me full time in this right now… but who knows, Maybe I’ll learn otherwise!

I welcome anyone to check out my statement, see what I’m offering and give me any feedback they think might be helpful!

http://www.nelsonm.com/arts-technology-consulting/

Still having fun with Arduino!

I’m still plugging away at the whole Arduino “thing”. It’s pretty neat to see your basic commands in an IDE, paired with some easy wiring on a breadboard, delivering a machine that responds to your touches and whims. Obviously this example isn’t ridiculously complicated, but I can easily imagine expanding this to… I don’t know, a robot steering wheel. The book example suggests making some cardboard cutouts so that this can control an electronic Do-Not-Disturb sign, which is silly, but potentially cute.

People have started to notice that I’m playing with this stuff, and I’ve been asked questions along the lines of “what to you plan to do with this?” It’s weird to me that someone would need a reason to do something like this, it’s cool, I’m learning stuff, and most importantly, I’m having fun. Of course, it would be neat to build something all out my own head, I’ve thought about pairing with a Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone or something to that effect to make an All-in-one electronic drum kit that doesn’t need a separate computer or brain, just plug in to an amp, but that’s pretty far away from making a few LEDs blink or motors spin. Heck, I don’t even know if it’s feasible! I presume it would have already been done if it was a thing that made sense. Particularly considering the number of e-drum kits out on the electronics hobbyist market.

I guess we’ll see what the future brings me as I gain knowledge and confidence, until then, I’m happy with a few beeps and buzzes.

Here is the code, for anyone interested. Care of Lesson 05 of The Arduino Starter Kit

#include <servo.h>;

Servo myServo;
int const potPin = A0;
int potVal;
int angle;

void setup(){
myServo.attach(9);
Serial.begin(9600);
}

void loop(){
potVal = analogRead(potPin);
Serial.print("potVal: ");
Serial.print(potVal);
angle = map(potVal, 0, 1023, 0, 179);
Serial.print("angle: ");
Serial.println(angle);

myServo.write(angle);
delay(15);
}

My first non-theoretical circuit.

So, in physics class in high school we didn’t spend a great deal of time on electronics. There was theory, ohms law, and graph paper circuits. But then we had to move on to light wavelengths and toothpick bridge building. I think I would have stayed interested in that class had there been more electronics and less mechanics.

With that in mind, since I had a bit of time, I pulled out the Arduino and set up the little workstation it came with and made a little circuit!

Sure, it’s simplistic, and copied out of a book, but hey! Everyone starts somewhere, and I’ve proven that I can follow basic instructions.

Most importantly though, I’ve made something that does something because of something I did. The Arduino is just providing power and ground here, not any programming or controls.

It’s pretty great, isn’t it.

Unboxing the Arduino Starter Kit

So there’s some exciting news in the world of what Nelson does with his spare time! I’ve always had an interest in electronics, programming, computers, technology and the cool things that can be done with them. However, I’ve never really taken the time to do anything about my interest. I always figured that I didn’t have the education, or I didn’t have the money, or any number of other excuses to not do something that I know I’ll enjoy.

Well, no more. I took the plunge just three days ago and I ordered the Arduino Starter Kit from spikenzielabs.com. Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board. spikenzielabs is an electronics kits and DIY electronics supplier that appears to be based out of Montreal, Quebec. A cool bonus I found with my order at spikenzielabs was that because my order was over a certain dollar value, it was eligible for a “free” gift, in this case I selected a 2 line by 16 character white on blue display panel, this might come in handy some day :-) Anyways, on with the unboxing!

Pete Seeger dead: folk singer and activist dies at 94

Pete Seeger dead: folk singer and activist dies at 94 – World – CBC News.

Pete Seeger was an awesome and inspirational human being

Habit RPG

So, I’ve never been much of a gamer. I played AD&D when I was younger, then World of Warcraft when I was older. I played RPGs in similar veins like Baldurs Gate, and Icewind Dale, and I read fantasy novels like they’re going out of style — but we all know that fantasy is never going out of style.

Recently my partner Lindsay educated me that there’s a new game out there by the name of Habit RPG, what’s interesting about it and what sets it apart from pretty much every other game I’m used to is that the game play is actually just your own every day actions. It turns my life into a game, with Experience points, levels, monsters, and all the things I love about fantasy. It’s really kind of neat. I’ve only been playing for a couple of days now but I think it’s a keeper. I found myself earlier today looking forward to the tasks that I’ve set up for myself. The concept is pretty rad, and I think for people like me who need a little encouragement to get stuff done, this is a really cool tool!

Once more around the sun.

I don’t have much to say today, it’s my birthday. Thirty-three times around the sun. I’ve been thinking about my lot in life, where I am, and where I want to be. I’ve been a computer technician for nearly eight years now. I’m damn good at it; but I feel like I need to be more than that.

Do I have what it takes to be a leader? I don’t know. I think I do, but it’s a daunting challenge. My current job doesn’t seem to have the opportunities for growth that I need, or they have already decided that other people should be given those opportunities. When I ask for new challenges, or for time to learn beyond my role, I see that my schedule is filled with more of the same, and other people are being given extended time to learn and grow.

I don’t want to imply that my employer is neglecting me, but I think that there may be politics involved that I’m not aware of. I’m disappointed I think, but not surprised. Humans are human after all, they make mistakes. It will be a matter of time in determining if the mistake is mine, or theirs. Am I over-estimating myself? Are they under estimating me? Or is it simply that they see something in other people that I don’t. Am I jealous?

I don’t know, maybe I’m just feeling old. I’d love to be twenty-five again, maybe I’d be more adamant in my career path. If I knew that the box I was about to climb into was more of a cage than I expected, I may have made different choices. It’s too bad I can’t just quit and start fresh somewhere. There’s so much risk and uncertainty that I can’t afford with that. I have bills, and life and bills and debts to pay. I can’t just pack it in for the sake of some elusive happiness.

Maybe I will start applying for jobs though. Just to see what happens.

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